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Schadenfreude / Season 2, Episode 2
Broadcast: October 4, 2005
Guest star: Rupert Everett (Malcolm Holmes), Heather Locklear (Kelly
In the midst of a media circus, the murder trial of Kelly Nolan (Heather
Locklear), AKA 'The Black Widow,' gets underway with defense team Alan
Shore, Brad Chase and Denny Crane. Can they pull off an acquittal in this
seemingly un-winnable case, with the media playing judge and jury and a
defendant who is unapologetically cold as ice? Meanwhile Denise Bauer,
intent on avoiding alimony payment to her soon-to-be-ex-husband, enlists
the help of junior associates Garrett Wells and Sara Holt to challenge the
constitutionality of no-fault divorce; Holmes (Rupert Everett) convinces
Tara (Rhona Mitra), who's desperately trying to avoid his charming
advances, to help represent his client, Johnny Damon (Russell Andrews) --
Damon, singer Edwin Starr's nephew, wants to be allowed to sing his late
uncle's trademark song, "War," at a club where the owner has deemed the
song un-American -- and a frightened Catherine (Betty White) goes to the
police when Bernard (Leslie Jordan) calmly tells her that he fantasizes
about committing another murder.
Directed by .... Arlene Sanford
Written by .... David E. Kelley
Edited by ... Philip Neel, A.C.E.
Russell Andrews .... Johnny Damon
John Berg .... Judge Robert Hober
Jill Brennan .... Gracie Jane
Jason Brooks .... Justin Murray
Michael Brownlee .... Reporter #2
Shawn Christian .... Tim Bauer
Charles Chun .... Dr. Jeffrey Wong
Ellen Crawford .... Frances Stadler
Helen Eigenberg .... Atty. Tompkins
Rupert Everett .... Malcolm Holmes
Kurt Fuller .... Reverend Donald Diddum
Anthony Heald .... Judge Harvey Cooper
Hugh B. Holub .... Jury Foreperson
Gregory Itzin .... A.D.A. Todd Milken
Leslie Jordan .... Bernard Ferrion
Diane Kim .... Reporter
Heather Locklear .... Kelly Nolan
Derrick McMillon .... Security Guard
Paul Perri .... Ronald Emmerich
Vic Polizos .... Detective Frank Richmond
Francesca Roberts .... Judge Jamie Atkinson
John Thaddeus .... Detective John Stephenson
Glen Walker .... Anchorman
Betty White .... Catherine Piper
Alan: You psychotic punk.
Denny: Look at his eyes. Nutcase.
Denny: I like the pathological. Let's get another one like her.
Catherine Piper: I made a mistake. I thought you were taller.
Catherine Piper: As God is my witness... My only witness.
Johnny Damon: Good God, y'all.
Malcolm Holmes: Bollocks. I never win.
Did You Know... ?
Phil Neel, A.C.E., edited "Schadenfreude" He also edited seaons one's "Hired Guns",
"It Girls and Beyond" and "Death Be Not Proud". He won the ACE Eddie
Award for BEST EDITED ONE-HOUR SERIES FOR TELEVISION on February 20, 2005
for his work on Boston Legal.
Read an in-depth discussion with Phil:
An Interview with Boston Legal Editor Phil Neel by Diana Maiocco for
Epicaricacy | 2.02 'Schadenfreude' written by
Apparently, the title I have chosen for this review is the closest thing
we have in the English language to the German word 'schadenfreude', as you
all already know, meaning 'taking pleasure in someone else's misfortune'.
I prefer the German as a sort of loan word into the English language; even
Denny's butchering of the word (shutterbug?!) is far superior to this
unnecessarily long e-word that traces its roots back to Greek and
apparently means the same thing as schadenfreude, even though you may not
find it in many dictionaries.
Whatever word you want to use to describe it, you can't ignore it, and
we've certainly all been guilty of it at one point or another. Alan played
on that universality of the feeling - even went as far as to suggest it is
a biological, physiological fact of the human brain, not merely an ugly
unexplainable facet of the way the human mind works. And he was right in
his assertion that the only way anyone could convict Kelly Nolan of the
murder of her husband was through a sick happiness they would draw from
it. People want murders to be solved, the criminals to be apprehended and
punished for their evil deeds. But things don't work out that way, all cut
and dry, prepackaged and ready to go. Is it possible that Kelly was in
fact guilty? Certainly. That isn't what counts though. It is absolutely
possible that she is innocent, and so Alan argued that it would be
flat-out wrong to find her guilty.
Throughout Kelly Nolan's appearance on the show, she has been defined not
through what she has done, said, or felt, but rather a lack of all three,
especially the last. Instead of witty dialog, as is usual between the
litigators of Crane, Poole, and Schmidt, it is rather her almost
calculated reservedness and reticence, and a detached demeanor that has
cast doubt on her innocence from the the moment she walked into the firm's
offices. She is a powerful character not because she cries on the stand at
the loss of a loved one; but because she seems to feel nothing at all.
This sets off the media blitz that dubbed her 'The Black Widow', and
subsequently worries her representation, namely Brad, whose
straightforward nature leads him to believe that unless she starts to act
like a woman who has lost her husband, she's going to start acting like a
woman who picks up garbage on the highway in an orange jumpsuit.
While Alan was handling this highly publicized case, the firms newcomers
Denise Bauer, Garrett Wells, and Sara Holt focused on a more internal
case; that of Denise's divorce, and alimony, with her soon-to-be
ex-husband Tim. Upset that Tim got the upper hand early, bringing in the
Reverend Donald Diddum to handle the case, and more than irked by the
amount of money he was asking for, Denise declares a paper war on him. She
reveals her scrappy nature in this way, showing that she won't back down
and she isn't afraid to use the resources she is afforded; in this case,
the bright young attorneys Garrett and Sara, both inexperienced but
capable of good work out of a sheer effort to impress and an eagerness to
Their answer to the problem at hand is not to try and work their way
around and lower the alimony payment by negotiation, but rather by picking
at an inherent character flaw in the Reverend that Garrett discovered:
more than one sexual harassment instance against him. Sara is (obviously)
reluctant to use the 'sex' method, but eventually agrees; interesting that
she is willing to sacrifice herself to win her case. What else would she
be willing to compromise to bring victory for herself and her firm?
Garrett already doesn't seem like the type to care much for morals (he's
definitely leaning more Alan than Brad) but Sara keeps the tradition of
the women on this show (minus Tara, of course; that little exception her)
of being, for the most part, morally upstanding. Even though her feigned
interest in the priest is anything but.
Enter Malcolm Holmes, and (exit?) the relationship between Alan and Tara.
It sure seems that the reappearance of Tara's old flame spells bad news
for the already troubled pair that is Alan and Tara. Of note is Alan's
reaction to Tara spending time with Malcolm; while he had no trouble
showing the fact that he was unhappy with him stealing her to work on his
case, what really put him over the edge was that he walked in on her
enjoying herself with him, in a completely non-sexual way. No kissing,
nothing. But it hurt nonetheless, more even, because he's supposed to be
the one to put that smile on her face and that clichéd twinkle in her eye.
The fact that someone else has usurped him in that manner puts him on the
balcony with Denny mourning a relationship that, for all intents and
purposes, isn't officially dead yet. An unlikely concession from a man who
doesn't like to lose, at anything. Not that what little we have seen of
Alan's love life has been positive in any way.
The episode closed with two very juicy twists, however; Kelly Nolan's
non-reaction to Alan's probing of the truth; was she innocent or guilty?
How do you take her little smile? Leaving it deliberately open-ended
allows those who want to believe either way to do so. But the true twist
was Catherine's decision to bring swift justice to Bernard Ferrion where
the law had failed. After all of her attempts to bring him to God...I
guess she sent him there herself then...
-The resolution to the 'Black Widow' storyline was sufficiently different
from the Paul Stewart case from S8 of The Practice, even though Kelly
remained emotionally flat throughout the episode. Chalk it up to character
continuity. The most emotion she's shown though since she walked in the
doors at Crane, Poole, and Schmidt has been that Mona Lisa-esque smirk she
gave Alan in the elevator when he tried to elicit the truth from her. Did
she do it?
-Add 'mad cow' to the running list of Denny Crane-isms. It's now shown up
in enough episodes to become a major part of the Boston Legal lexicon.
-"Bollocks. I never win." It was petulant, but in a lovable way somehow. I
think that is to Rupert Everett's credit.
-"Huh!" "Good God y'all!" I loved the way Edwin Star's nephew punctuated
his speech with lyrics from the song "War"; also worth mentioning is the
way they laced in the politically charged lyrics from the popular WWI song
"Over There" written by George M. Cohan, one of the most brilliant artists
of the American stage of all time. Just a little tid-bit there.
-Alan's closing was great stuff; a long, helluva monologue that was
probably no fun to memorize but was delivered perfectly. I especially
loved Denny's silent coaching from the sidelines. You have no choice but
to trust a man who claims to never have lost a case.
-Kurt Fuller's character, Reverend Donald Diddum, has a great name but is
way to skeevy a character for my liking. The actor always plays a
weasel-like character that you love to hate (or hate, period...), but here
he's a total sleezeball.
-Tim is trying for a hell of a lot of money out of Denise - I definitely
don't trust his pretext for serving her the divorce papers any more.
Suffice to say that I am on Denise's side when it comes to this conflict.
-The rising conflict over Tara - Alan seems to have conceded already, but
I doubt he'll give her up without a fight (or at least a brawl in which he
pays men to fight for him...) Will she give in to Malcolm's advances?
-Did Catherine just kill Bernie...with a skillet? How's that for irony...
As always, thanks for reading. Sorry for the late review.
Written by: Abney | Send feedback and comments to Abney at
[Listen to Abney and Dana's conversation about
Schadenfreude - mp3 download]
October 4, 2005 "Schadenfreude" / Fast National ratings
At 10 p.m., "Law & Order: SVU" delivered a 10.8/17 for NBC, while ABC
dropped one spot to second with "Boston Legal," 7.9/13. The premiere of
"Close to Home" averaged 7.2/11 for CBS, while FOX got a 5.4/9 from its
CBS averaged an 8.3 rating/13 share for the night, narrowly beating ABC,
8.0/12, ABC moved into the lead at 9 p.m. with "Commander In Chief"
(10.9/16), holding on to virtually all of its premiere audience.
Boston Legal fell off the Top 20 Network Primetime Series for week of
10/03/05 - 10/09/05. The previous week (The Black Widow), Boston Legal
came in at #20 for the week.
© 2005 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. c/o Zap2it.com
Boston Legal: Schadenfreude
Airdate: October 4, 2005
gone" clip (6:50)
Kelly Nolan is crossed, Denise Bauer challenges alimony, War in the court,
Malcolm meets Alan, Denny on jury wrangling.
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October 4, 2005:
Households: 7.9/13, #5; adults 18-49: 3.7, #7